Rolfe was fired last June one day after he shot Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot. A scuffle followed after Brooks struck the other officer on the scene, grabbed his Taser and aimed it at Rolfe, who then fired multiple shots.
Within a week, Rolfe was charged with murder by former Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.
But that case has yet to move forward. Howard’s successor, Fani Willis, has sought to recuse her office from prosecuting the case, citing a conflict due to her predecessor’s handling of the investigation.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr denied Willis’ request, and a judge has yet to rule who should handle the prosecution, if it moves forward at all.
“It appears Rayshard Brooks’ life really didn’t matter, and the world has moved on,” Stewart said.
Stewart and his co-counsel Justin Miller questioned the city’s commitment to justice.
“The city, the police department and the DA’s office are not really serious about civil rights,” Miller said.
In a statement, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms defended the decision to fire Rolfe.
“Given the volatile state of our city and nation last summer, the decision to terminate this officer, after he fatally shot Mr. Brooks in the back, was the right thing to do,” she said. “Had immediate action not been taken, I firmly believe that the public safety crisis we experienced during that time would have been significantly worse.”
Brooks’ family reacted to the news about Rolfe’s reinstatement with “disappointment and confusion,” Miller said.
Stewart noted the mistakes made in Rolfe’s dismissal mirrored those in another case involving two officers fired for their role in the aggressive arrests of two college students during last summer’s protests in downtown Atlanta. In February, the Civil Service Board reinstated officers Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter, who still face a variety of criminal charges, including aggravated assault and simple battery.
“This was really procedural,” Stewart said. “And the procedures were not followed.”
“It’s the same feeling of limbo and being ignored that we have in the criminal case and the civil case,” he continued. “It is a pattern of being ignored.”